Dean Massey: Support 2A, 2B
November 2, 2008
Steamboat Springs — As a resident and parent in Steamboat Springs and a science teacher at Hayden High School, I bring a unique perspective to the dialogue regarding referendums 2A and 2B.
Perhaps the most important factor in the decision to make Steamboat our home was that it appeared to be a small town with very good schools and a strong community commitment to education as evidenced by the additional sales tax revenues that were being plowed back into the educational system. We have not been disappointed. The facilities, equipment and technology available to students in the Steamboat schools are second to none, and the teaching staff has the knowledge and commitment to use these resources to the best advantage of the students. Our community’s support for education is a cornerstone of those values that make Steamboat a special place to live and raise a family. We must continue to make those investments to ensure a future for the next generation.
Steamboat residents need to know the technology and educational resources we take for granted are, in many cases, simply not available to the rest of the students of Routt County. In my science classes, for example, I am forced to beg or borrow modern equipment from Colorado State University, Steamboat Springs High School or other local sources, simply to expose the students to modern science technology, which students are expected to have experienced by the time they enter higher education.
At Hayden High School, teachers regularly dedicate three to four hours a week after school to update and expand our curriculum and to implement new strategies to respond to the diverse needs of our students. We are developing a comprehensive plan to implement and maintain 21st-century technology in every classroom. The district and the community support those efforts, but the cost of the infrastructure is daunting for a small school district. We could use a hand.
Clearly, the majority of revenues made available by the sales tax are generated by out-of-town visitors. Although these visitors ski at Steamboat Ski Area, they also snowmobile, hunt, fish and generally recreate all across Routt County. They depend on the resources and services provided by the residents of the entire county who regularly shop in Steamboat and form the backbone of the permanent work force that supports the local economy. Under the current system, none of these revenues are shared with the children of these workers living in the Hayden and South Routt school districts. This is patently unfair. More importantly, it is a short-sighted public policy. The students in my science classes have a diversity of backgrounds, but most of these students have strong family roots in the area, and would like nothing more than to have an opportunity for a future here in the Yampa Valley. Because of these roots, these students will be an important part of a stable, non-transient work force for this area in the future.
It is in our interests, here in Steamboat, to recognize that we are part of a regional economy and vote to help all of our future workers get an opportunity for a first-class education. Please support referendums 2A and 2B.
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